Zero Tolerance knives, also known as ZT knives amongst members of the knife community, are some serious quality pocket knives.
They were originally marketed to law enforcement, paramilitary personnel, and first responders, but today the everyday carry crowd can’t get enough of them. (Though they’re still popular among their original intended audience.)
They exhibit unique designs from some of the industry’s most talented knife designers (such as Dmitry Sinkevich, Rick Hinderer, Ken Onion, and Todd Rexford), utilize premium materials and super steels, and offer excellent fit and finish.
ZT knives are also very expensive. Whichever is your go-to Zero Tolerance pocket knife, protect the investment with these best practices for knife care.
Don’t Abuse It
This is probably the most important facet of knife care. Do not abuse your knife.
What does this mean, really? Well, don’t use it to pry. Don’t pound on it. Don’t throw it. Be ginger when using the tip as a pick or piercing implement. A knife’s tip is often its most fragile part.
Also, don’t bite off more than you can chew. ZT pocket knives may be tough, but they are not machetes and they are not hatchets. Remember that.
If at any point you think “should I be doing this?” there’s a good chance you shouldn’t be.
Keep It Sharp
Another big piece of advice that knife owners all too frequently do not observe. A sharp knife cuts cleanly and it is safer to control. You are less likely to slip or strain with a sharp knife, which means you are less likely to damage it (or yourself, for that matter).
Many ZT folding knives are made with high-end “super” blade steels, so they will hold their edges for a long time – still, a few passes over a stone after a day’s work is a good habit to get into.
Keep It Clean
Also critical is to keep the knife clean. Dirt, dust, sand, and other debris will work their way into all the nooks and crevices of a pocket knife where they will wreak havoc.
A folding knife is particularly at risk here because they have more moving parts and a more complex design than a fixed blade.
Pay particular attention to the area between the scales and liners, the liner or frame lock, the area around the pocket clip, and most importantly, the pivot mechanism. All of these areas attract oil and dust which can cause abrasive damage if the knife is not kept clean.
Also, clean the blade off any time it gets wet or you use it in a corrosion environment. Wash it off with warm water, dry it fully, then use a bit of compressed air to blast out any dust or grime that has built up in the areas aforementioned.
Protect Against Corrosion
If you have a Zero Tolerance knife, it is probably made from corrosion-resistant steel and scale materials, such as carbon fiber. However, no steel is corrosion-proof.
A light coating of oil on the blade (food safe if you use it for food prep) should keep rust away. As for the action of the knife, a drop or two of oil such as Rem Oil or Hoppe’s should lubricate the works and stave off the rust that would seize up the works.
Store It Appropriately
Finally, store your knife appropriately. If you use it in saltwater or other unforgiving environments, make sure you store it somewhere cool and dry when you’re not using it, and preferably out of the light as well – and never store it wet.
Ruined the Previous Pocket Knife? Get a New Zero Tolerance Pocket Knife!
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They carry a huge range of collectible, hunting, hiking, camping, survival, bushcraft, and tactical knives from upwards of 100 different brands – and KAI USA and ZT are included.
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